Hi friends, neighbors, fowl of the air and beast of the field!

From time to time I will take on commissioned work, and on uncommon occasions the opportunity will present itself to create whatever I’d like for that work. I’ve always considered myself a commercial artist, drawing whatever is requested or required, and only privately doing art that is for my own expression or enjoyment. While a lot of artists experience a quickening of their spirits at an opportunity to get paid to be themselves, I found it to be a situation that revealed some anxieties about being unaware of what I wanted to say. It’s almost as if I forgot what I liked to draw.

Something I’ve learned from observation of how my own mind works is that I cannot drive an Idea out of its hole with brute force. I have had much more luck taking a long hike, a shower, or a bike ride, and bumping into the idea in the wild, with a clear, open mind. After quite a series of failed sketches and even some moderate bashing of my forehead against my drawing table, I had begun to think that I would give up on the project. Not long after that, spontaneously, it seemed, an idea appeared, almost completely assembled in my imagination. The gods of art shone a little light on me, and it was welcome.

The finished piece

I wouldn’t say this is a novel idea, because uncovered ancient technology and silent giants have been a subject explored many times before. Regardless, I found that something I wanted to make energized me: a giant robot knight, rusted and reclaimed by nature, in a beautiful rocky forest. A  smaller and regal knight on a handsome reindeer would discover it. A little bit of Miyazaki, a little bit of Shadow of the Colossus, and a little bit of Forest Park here in Portland, where I like to go explore every week.

I did some thumbnails. Most of the time, I like to have 3 elements of interest in an image as a default. My general idea was a large knight, now home to a mighty tree, a smaller figure for scale, and maybe some birds. The placement of the background elements were intuitive and made up as I went along. I don’t usually work this large (17” x 22”) so I made a small grid and mapped it out on the large piece, which worked surprisingly well.

Some Iterations. I left out the statues and floating stones, both of which I regret.


a tight thumbnail and grid, with color-coded elements for clarity

Ink wise, I threw a couple of things at this. It’s mostly brush, a basic wash, and some airbrush. One challenge was to have subtle differences in value clarify the sword, the roots, and the knight’s armor. Even though there are a lot of busy elements here, it still kinda works.

Starting the Inks, with no real rhyme or reason.


Sticky notes and frisket. Get an education, or you too will resort to such primitive methods!

There are a lot of very distressing discussions about AI art going on currently, and I have found myself having a very strong aversion to it both spiritually and politically, not to mention economically and existentially. Although I did not think about this consciously as I was making this piece, there is a theme about the natural world overcoming technology through a lot of my drawings, and it is something I intend on exploring more in the future.


I wish you peace and fortune, and a clear mind my friends,



An armored explorer